How Does Rust Affect Your Car's Value?

How much rust affects your car's value depends on the severity of the rust and where it's located. JunkCarMasters gets into the specifics.

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Rust doesn’t just eat away at your vehicle. Left unchecked, it’ll eat away at your car’s value too and nobody wants that!

Previously, we discussed the different issues a car can develop if it sits unused for too long.

Alongside those mechanical problems, your vehicle could begin to accumulate rust if it sits unused and unprotected for extended periods.

On top of that, the cost of removing rust from your car can skyrocket depending on the severity.

Let’s take a look at the reasons why your car may develop rust and how exactly that rust impacts its value!

man fixing a rusty car

How Much Does It Cost To Remove Rust From A Car?

Removing rust from your car can cost you anywhere from $50 to $2,500 depending on how extensive the damage is and where on your vehicle the rust is located.

Sometimes even the make and model of your car can have an impact on the total amount you'll end up paying to remove rust from your car.

This is because certain areas of the vehicle may be harder to access in some models than others.

Not all rust is created equal; a vehicle with surface rust will hold its value better than other types of rust as it's the easiest and least expensive to fix.

The harder and more expensive it is to fix, the lower the value of your car will end up being. Let's dive into each.

Minor Rust Repairs: $50-100
Moderate Rust Repairs: $200-300
Major Rust Repairs: Up to $2000+

  • Minor Rust Repairs - Small rust repairs (less than two inches in diameter) without any perforation of the metal can typically be resolved with some “good ol’ elbow grease.&rdquo.

    You can purchase a rust treatment kit at any auto supply shop for roughly $30.

    In many cases you can repair these minor rust spots on your own and save a great deal of cash in labor costs at an auto body shop.

  • Moderate Rust Repairs - Once the rust spots start to get larger in size and deeper in the metal's surface, but still haven't caused any holes, you can expect the price tag for getting the rust on your car removed to run a bit higher.

    Each medium size rust spot can cost you between $200 and $300 in repairs.

    While the rust kit mentioned above may still be able to help here, you may also end up needing a filling compound to finish the job.

  • Major Rust Repairs - Unlike minor and moderate rust repairs, this level of damage is generally outside of the DIY range and should be handled by a professional (unless, you happen to be a professional yourself then…have at it).

    When dealing with major rust, you’ll probably have to cut the damaged area away.

    The affected area is then welded with a matching panel that is refinished to match the surrounding area.

    Add to that a paint job and your bill is now in the thousands!

rusty car on the road

How Much Does Rust Affect Trade-In Value?

Frankly, rust is going to make your car’s trade in value take a hit. Cosmetic imperfections will be some of the first things that anyone taking appraisal of your car will notice and use to deduct from the final price.

If the rust has had any impact on the mechanical workings of your car (exhaust system, fuel tank, etc.), then you can guarantee a heftier chunk will be taken out of that trade-in value.

Is It Worth Fixing Rust On a Car?

If the cost of repairing your rusty vehicle is close to or greater than the market value of your car, then repairing it won’t be worth it.

That said, driving a car severely afflicted by rust is highly dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. You’re much better off selling your rusty vehicle and putting the profits towards a new set of wheels.

  • Cost of Repair - Because rust damage can vary in both surface area and depth, the cost to repair an afflicted car can also vary astronomically. As mentioned above, severe cases can run you up to $2,000!
  • Car Value - Consider, also, your car’s actual value. If the cost to repair your literal rust bucket outweighs its value, then it’s probably in your best interest to forgo rust repair before selling it altogether.
  • Danger - Sometimes rust can be severe enough where it makes the vehicle a health hazard on wheels. Rusted fuel tank supports, extensive rust throughout the undercarriage, or a rusted exhaust system all compromise the safety of anyone driving in that vehicle.

If there’s major damage to your automobile’s necessary equipment — to the point where functionality has been impacted — then repairs likely aren’t worth it.

Rust damage of that caliber can compromise the structural and mechanical integrity of a vehicle and make it a danger to drive.

At that point, you may want to cut losses and sell your vehicle.

Is Selling A Car With Rust a Good Option?

Selling a car with rust is a perfectly viable option, especially if you’re looking to get it off your hands as quickly as possible.

However, you are required to inform any potential buyer about issues with the vehicle.

Rust or not, if you find a buyer for the vehicle, then you can sell it. Whether that be at an auction, to a dealership, or to a scrap yard, sold is SOLD!

JunkCarMasters Welcomes All Rust Buckets!

Here at JunkCarMasters, what’s one person’s junk is absolutely our treasure!

If your car’s got a hefty amount of rust, don’t sweat it. We’ll take it right off of your hands and put some cash in them!

Our team of customer service representatives will kick back a quote to you within 90 seconds of contact.

Within 24-48 hours of accepting our offer, your rust bucket could be hitched up to a tow truck and on its way to the big junkyard in the sky…absolutely FREE of charge!

Contact JunkCarMasters today and let’s find your junk car a new master together!

How Much Does It Cost To Fix Rust?

Surface rust repairs, if done by a professional, can cost anywhere up to $600 on the high end. Total rust removal, however, can average $3000.

Is Rust Considered Frame Damage?

Surface rust is not considered frame damage. However, once it penetrates through the surface and begins to attack your vehicle’s frame, it classifies as frame damage and can become a serious issue.

It’s a Quick and Easy Process

Step 1: Vehicle Details

Vehicle Details

Provide us with your vehicle’s details and a picture if asked.

Step 2: Offer


Request your guaranteed offer from us online.

Step 3: Accept


Accept the offer if you’re happy with it.

Step 4: Get Paid

Get Paid

In 24-48 hrs, you will get paid and have your car towed for free!

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What Is Your Junk Car Worth?

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